Skip to comments.Did Romney’s remarks hint at a Romney-Palin showdown in 2012?
Posted on 10/07/2008 6:14:40 PM PDT by mathwhizz
Mitt Romney's remarks last week that John McCain's presidential campaign should have provided more media access to vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin sent waves through the political world because it was one of the first times the former governor had criticized the GOP nominee's strategy.
"Holding Sarah Palin to just three interviews and microscopically focusing on each interview I think has been a mistake," Romney said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I think they'd be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin. Let her talk to the media, let her talk to people."
While Romney may have been reflecting the mainstream conventional wisdom going into last week's vice presidential debate, some say Romney's remarks are a glimpse ahead to a possible 2012 match-up between Romney and Palin, if McCain loses this year's race for the White House.
"The more interviews for Sara Palin, the less likely she will be the heir apparent to the Republican Presidential nomination next time," said Mike Shea, a veteran Boston Democratic strategist. "Whatever happens, McCain probably will not be the Republican nominee next time, and Romney will begin campaigning for that post the day after the election."
Scott Ferson, another Boston Democratic strategist, said Romney's remarks indicated a break from McCain, who appears to be slipping in recent polls.
"More significantly, [the remarks are] a show of independence that he has been cautious not to display when it looked like McCain's chances were strong," Ferson said. "It appears to be another set up for the party faithful, should McCain lose, to say they would have been better off with Romney."
The Romney camp fully dismissed any notion that the former governor was being overly critical of McCain or looking ahead to 2012.
"For the record, that's absolutely ridiculous," Eric Fehrnstrom, a spokesman for Romney, said, "a conspiracy theory that would make Oliver Stone blush."
"Gov. Romney has been working hard across the country to elect John McCain and Sarah Palin because he believes our nation will be better off with them in the White House," Fehrnstrom added.
Others suggested that Romney was simply reflecting the mainstream conventional wisdom in Republican circles last week.
"I think Romney is expressing his true sentiments, not trying to gain some advantage down the line by advising additional media exposure for Palin that could backfire," Rob Gray, a Boston GOP strategist, said. "Romney's view is in line with most Republican operatives I've spoken to, thus pretty mainstream."
Still, the local political punditry couldn't help but think of how a race between Romney and Palin would play out.
"It would be a battle," said Peter Blute, the former Republican congressman from Worcester. "Palin certainly has the conservative base, and she probably would maintain that."
That conservative branch of the party, Blute noted, gave Romney trouble this year because many evangelicals were unwilling to accept Romney's Mormonism. Nevertheless, Blute said Romney set himself up well.
"I think he's still a viable presidential candidate," he said. "He did a very good job in his first go around nationally."
And, Blute said, he isn't sure Palin is looking to run for president.
"I don't think she is necessarily as ambitious as Romney is," he said. "So she may not adhere herself to national politics...that may not be her thing."
At least one person said that Romney may be well-positioned because Palin's inexperience and lack of policy understanding has already taken hold.
"Palin's weakness in dealing with a range of issues is fundamental," said Paul Watanabe, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. "No tactical adjustments - relatively less or more exposure - can hide her lack of experience and critical knowledge."
That sentiment, plus Romney's significant political experience as a candidate and surrogate, led other to believe the former governor remarks indicate his own strategy looking ahead.
"Any strategy Mitt Romney suggests is for the benefit of Mitt Romney," Doug Hattaway, a Boston Democratic strategist and Al Gore's spokesman during his 2000 presidential campaign, said. "That's the safest bet you can make in politics."
State Rep. Brad Jones, the minority leader of the state House of Representatives, said Romney's political future is, ultimately, tied to the outcome of this election and how well Palin performs. If McCain wins this year and decides not to run for re-election in 2012, Palin will be in place as the frontrunner for the nomination.
"If Sen. McCain wins the presidency and decides not to run for re-election for whatever reason," Jones, a North Reading Republican, said, "the sitting vice president is going to have the resources of incumbency and if things have gone well, she's going to have that much more experience."
But, Jones went on, Romney could fill a vacuum as the frontrunner for 2012 if McCain loses and Palin is viewed as a drag on the ticket.
"If McCain loses and Palin isn't well-received," he said, "it partially elevates Romney because another viable contender is not there. It's going to be pretty hard for Palin to say, I did poorly, we lost, Obama is on the presidency and now I perceive myself as the likely contender four years from now. And my pulpit is basically two more years as the governor of Alaska.' I don't see that."
Palin a drag on WHAT ticket? More like anyone else would drag her ticket.
Well, right now she’s the frontrunner for ‘12, no doubt about it.
These Massachussetes liberal pundits are so laughable. My dog will have a better chance than Romney in 2012. Romney is soooooooo yesterday. He’ll be well advised to run for senate when Kennedy dies perhaps in a few months.
More like Palin, Romney ticket.
I can tell romney and Huckabee are both working the 2012
angle and if MCain loses , I am sure the 3 front runners
will be Palin , Romney and Huckabee.
Palin has that Ronald Reagan thing , not so sure there is any hope for the others
Mr. Romney has the right to run again, just like anybody else. However, why anyone would consider his advice on *this* election relevant is beyond me. (Hint: He LOST in the primary ...)
You play with your friends. the democrats boycotted foxnews network.
Sarah, and the American people owe the MSM zero. It is what they are getting.
Only an idiot forms a ticket for 2012 even before the end of this cycle. Don’t know about the rest of you but this has on democrat standards been a four year election cycle and I am voting every incumbent out but I am tired of this.
Palin is NOT a drag on the ticket.
I did cancel my emails from mymanmitt.com cause whatever his name is started putting out negative junk on Sarah. But that has nothing to do with Mitt.
Romney should run for senator after Kennedy dies. That’ll be much quicker than waiting for 4 years.
With a 150 million dollars and no conservatives in the race (in a major way) then Romney almost succeeded in pulling off a liberal coup of sorts.
In 2012 there would be a two term Governor Palin with huge ratings and a second term Governor Bobby Jindal with huge ratings.
The conservatives are back, and we won’t be caught flat footed in 2012.
We win this one anyway.
Romney looks like he’d be Biden’s boss at the used car dealership.
Mitt is the second coming of Barry Goldwater, compared to a Kennedy.
Can we get through this election first?
I think that’s exactly the point Romney was making: let Sarah be Sarah. I think he makes a fair observation in that the liberals have been clutching at what she says and trying to play her off as an inexperienced buffoon. The whole foreign relations experience by being able to see Russia comment, for instance.
To an extent that’s hurt the left, as the public has recoiled a bit. But there’s no doubt it hurt the ticket after that initial huge surge. The media literally went on a Palin feeding frenzy shortly after that bump, and it’s only been after the debate where she held her own that they let up a bit.
Mitt was my first choice for Presidential candidate, as well as Vice-Presidential. I haven’t changed my mind. I have a slight concern about his electability — he comes off as a little false at times.
RINO scum like Romney are the cancer that destroyed the GOP.
I'm saving that post for the 2012 timecapsule...'cause it is dead on and will need repeating come Feb 2012
A little false -- at times?
You mean when he's lying about owning a gun?
Or lying about being a hunter?
Or lying about his gun-grabbing record?
Or lying about both he and his father marching with MLK?
Or lying about his pro-abortion record?
Or lying about his support for gay rights?